Government suspends anti-spam changes after receiving blowback from businesses and NGOs

Navdeep Bains

New provisions of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) that were set to come into effect on July 1st have been suspended due to complaints from businesses and non-governmental organizations.

The provisions would allow lawsuits to be filed against individuals and organizations for violations of the legislation, a change that concerned businesses and non-profits due to the fact that over a three-year transition period that began in 2014, those organizations were permitted to rely on a recipient’s implied consent to receive electronic messages, while ostensibly giving them time to obtain express consent.

With the window closing fast, it seems most organizations aren’t prepared for the change.

“Canadians deserve to be protected from spam and other electronic threats so that they can have confidence in digital technology,” said Minster of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains in a press statement.

“At the same time, businesses, charities and other non-profit groups should have reasonable ways to communicate electronically with Canadians. We have listened to the concerns of stakeholders and are committed to striking the right balance.”

ISED notes in its release that the government will ask a parliamentary committee to review the legislation.

CASL came into effect on July 1, 2014 and works to stop businesses and non-profits from sending electronic spam to Canadians. Penalties for serious infractions max out at $1 million CAD for individuals and $10 million for businesses.

Source: Government of Canada